Friday 23//11/2018
A large group from the Dublin Branch of the Irish Naval Association ( INA ) made up of Members, Associate Members and friends (approx 25 in total), travelled by train to Waterford for the Annual Mass for the Deceased Members of the Waterford Branch of the INA to be held on Sunday and a Gala Dinner to be held on the Saturday night. On arrival in Waterford we were met at the Station by a coach which brought us to the Fitzwilton Hotel, where we stayed for the weekend. The coach was arranged by our National PRO Mr Terry Cummins. Terry is always very mindful of the health of our members and how we are all getting on in age. We were met very enthusiastically by the Management and staff of the hotel, as they know us very well having stayed there for the last number of years. Most of us stayed in the hotel for dinner that night and the hotel arranged for a musician to be in attendance.

Saturday 24/11/18.
After breakfast we were free to wander through the shops and the Christmas Market as the National Executive Committee Meeting, ( NEC ), which is normally held on this weekend, did not start until the afternoon.

14.30 The hotel had arranged a table and chairs for our NEC meeting in the Function Room. There was a large attendance at the meeting with members travelling from all four Branches. Almost all the Officers were present and some delegates along with observers. The main items on the Agenda were the outstanding issues raised by the Limerick Branch to do with our Code of Conduct and Standing Orders; there were originally 14 items on the list but many were clarified/agreed at the NEC Meeting held in Limerick in June 2018, leaving just 7 items to be discussed. A very detailed discussion took place going through all remaining 7 points; 6 items were dealt with very swiftly leaving just one to be discussed in more detail and this related to voting at the AGM. After discussion, it was agreed to leave the Status Quo. Our National Treasurer, Terry Cummins, then gave a detailed account of our bank balance pointing out the savings he made in shopping around for our Public Liability Insurance. The balance is looking very healthy.

Gerry Mulligan, our Clothing Officer, gave a very good report on our clothing and merchandise suggesting that we look at another supplier but at the same time not dropping the supplier we are dealing with at the moment. Tony O Halloran from Waterford said that he had received a very nice timber plaque and he suggested that Gerry look at it with a view to ordering some for the Branches. Gerry agreed to this. The Vice President, Andy Mac Sherry, gave a report on the Wreath Laying Ceremony held in Fort Camden commemorating the end of WW1 organised by the INA. Again, Terry Cummins must be applauded for organising this event which according to Andy was very well received I asked the Branches to consider the important functions/events that they feel the President should attend during his term of office and to come back to me at our AGM in March 2019. We are receiving a lot of invitations and it is important that we don’t offend anybody by not turning up when invited.

20.00 Hrs
Our Gala Dinner was very successful with approx 90 members in attendance from all our Branches, the ONE and the George Crosbie Branch of the ONE Cork. Our usual musician, Mr Tommy Carroll, provided the music during the meal and for the rest of the evening. The menu was excellent, with a choice of four starters and four mains; you would not get that in a five star hotel. A good night was had by all.

Sunday 25/11/18.
After breakfast there were buses waiting to take us to 11.00 Mass in the Church of the Holy Family, Waterford . The Celebrant was Fr Des Campion, Chaplin to the Irish Naval Service. Special Guests included the Lord Mayor of Waterford; Lt Alan Dalton, Irish Naval Reserve representing the FLAG; representatives of An Garda Siochana and the Civil Defence . The Mass was very special as the music was provided as usual by the Barrack Street Brass Band, who were joined by the Artane Band from Dublin. It was truly magic. After Mass we boarded the buses again for the short drive to the local Roanmore GAA Club, who have facilitated us for the last number of years. Tea, coffee and biscuits were available to us when we arrived at the Club, and of course the bar was open. The music was provided by Dick Roach, who was helped along the way with a fine group of singers. Lunch was spare ribs, chicken, mash and cabbage followed by a selection of deserts. A raffle was held with lots of spot prizes and the Cummins family from Waterford, led by their leader Jim Cummins, cleaned up. All too soon it was time to leave and board the buses back to the hotel; as usual the Waterford Branch of the INA had made us very welcome and put on a great show.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish the Waterford Branch of the INA every success with their SPECIAL events in 2019, when it will be 25 years since the Branch was formed. The bar is set very high for them to better the reception we get in the Fitzwilton Hotel, the Gala Dinner menu and the way the Management and staff look after us.

Wednesday 12th December 2018
I attended as a civie at the Defence Forces Carol Service in the Sacred Heart Church, Arbour Hill, (Church of the Defence Forces) on Wednesday 12/12/18. The Welcome and Opening Prayer was by Fr Seamus Madigan, Head Chaplin of the Defence Forces. The following were featured - The Army No 1 Band, Defence Forces Pipes and Drums, Defence Forces Cadet Choir (which will be passing out in early February 2019), the IL Coro Italiano Di Dublino Choir. It was a very special occasion as it is the 200th Anniversary of Silent Night. Pte Aaron Kearney sang Christmas 1914 a capella. A lot of the General Staff were in attendance including Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, FLAG Officer Commodore Michael Malone and Fr Des Campion. The Chaplin General to the UK Ground Forces, Rev David Coulter, gave a Christmas Reflection on Silent Night and Christmas Peace. He also made a presentation at the end of the ceremony to Fr Seamus Madigan of a Prayer Desk which had been removed from the Church in the Curragh to the UK when the British Army moved out in 1922. It had moved around England a lot but was found earlier this year in a very bad state, but with its original plaque saying where it had come from. It was brought to the Royal Corps of Engineers where it was refurbished; it was then decided to return it to the Curragh Church where it originated. There was a collection at the end of the evening for the Fr Peter McVerry Trust carried out by the Civil Defence; Fr Peter was in attendance and lit a Peace Candle. It was truly a lovely evening and well done to everyone involved

Sin a Bhuil.
Bryan Gildea, President,
Irish Naval Association.